This is a different Grisham story. He seems to be maturing. In his earlier novels, Grisham creates a relentless pace for his stories, and they move forward without giving the reader any breathing room.
In this novel, he depicts, with delightful clarity, life in a rural county in Mississippi in the nineteen seventies. The story is told from the perspective of a young newspaper editor that comes from out of town, takes over the only paper in the county, and through his role as the editor, gets involved in county life in every aspect. We get to know his friends, his work, and the town’s pace. Grisham tells the story in a slow pace.
Yes, there is a murder, there is a trial, there is a jury, just like we expect there to be those things in a Grisham novel. We can’t imagine one without those. However, this story is different, with a twist, but also told in a different pace. As you read it, you find yourself drifting away from the plot, just to see life in the country with immense detail and color. Grisham seems to be able to make us see life there, but he does it almost like Hemingway, with simple, short sentences, small words, the right words, and the statement of facts, nothing else. But we are there, watching, experiencing and participating.
I kept thinking about how different this book was from many other Grisham books, but I liked it for its simplicity and its relaxed pace.
This book meanders along like I do on a sunny Sunday morning in Balboa Park, wearing shorts, a T-shirt and Birkenstocks, coffee in hand, stopping to smell cherry blossoms along the path, taking it slow and easy, grateful for being alive.
Take it easy and enjoy.